MAGIC CIRCLE 2008 – Bad Arolsen, Tyskland
Around 01:00 after midnight, me, my girlfriend and some other unknown to us back then people, had arranged a meeting at a known bar in Oslo, with the notorious known Manowar fan of Norway, Erman. The plan was to drink some beers till the first train would take us to the airport in order to catch the flight to Berlin.
There was quite a good vibe around us, until the travelling nightmare begun.
The 3-4 beers weren't enough for me personally to deal with the fact that we had to wait 2 hours at Oslo S. for the train. And the next day was even more terrifying…
Berlin apparently wasn't the best place to land in order to reach Bad Arolsen, as we needed to take local train and then a long distance train that would take us to Bad Arolsen with correspondence with a different train, in 4 and a half hours!!! I don't even want to remember the procedure on how we actually got there…we were all tired, cranky and quite hungry…luckily we were enjoying each other's company so everything was dealt in a bit better way…
When we finally got at Bad Arolsen, we found a quite nice and graphical city but to our surprise from the train station of Bad Arolsen, we had to walk around 40 minutes in order to get to the festival area. At that time, for me, all my plans and dreams for partying on the first night went to hell. When we got at the festival area and camped, i was so exhausted that all I wanted was to sleep and to hope that the festival days would reward us for all this chaos and stress.
The rest of the guys felt like having some beers so we split by arranging plans for the next day.
An annoying sun started to blind me and make me to feel hot so…good morning! Magic Circle festival day 1!
Coming out from the tent, I realised that while still sleeping more Norwegians gathered around the first 3 Norwegian tents…and the drinking had already started. After all the necessary introductions and greetings, I took a look around the camping area. Flags from all around the world were waving. The crowd was getting bigger and bigger as the hours were passing by and music was coming from everywhere. Cool feeling!
By the time the festival started the crowd was considered to be to 34.000 attendees; quite a good number in order to create the necessary festival vibe.
Many of you will maybe expect to say some things for bands that participated in the festival such as Gotthard…well…I saw 2 songs and it is definitely not my kind of beer so…
Acts that I saw on the first day of the festival was ONLY Alice Cooper. Mr Cooper did in my opinion an amazing show with all the theatrical elements that his show contains for years now. Dead brides, guillotines, etc…
He performed songs from almost all his career albums, and I think that the people that saw his show were satisfied. It was a bit of a shame that quite a lot of thousands stayed at the camping area, drinking and not showing their respect to one of the old rock beasts. Anyway…
The first festival day had a small "surprise" in the end as with the people not knowing if it is a fact or a rumour, the story about a Swedish couple, Manowar fans for years that were supposed to get married by Joey DeMaio beside a flaming Viking ship, was floating in the festival air. Everyone started following someone and after a while we ended up in an open area were the ship from last years tour was laying.
Indeed, after 1 hour DeMaio appeared together with the couple and after a small "ceremony" Eric Adams, with a flaming arrow, set the ship on fire. It was quite a cool idea with the hilarious however fire department guarding right beside.
Festival day number 2 and the drinking were getting to the right levels. A happy occasion for me was the meeting I have had with the Hellenic Manowar fan team. We had a few beers, catching up with the latest news etc…it was definitely great meeting some of those guys again after so many years! After a quick drive downtown for supplies (by the way…if you are planning to go to Germany AVOID beer with orange cans by any means!!! I really don't understand why Germans have beer with orange flavour…!?), . For me…the only thing that mattered that day was Manowar! In that year's Magic Circle, Manowar were supposed to perform live on their first day the albums, Battle Hymns, Into Glory Ride and Hail To England. What can be better than that? Manowar were absolutely amazing! They performed all songs from the first three albums with amazing energy. Eric Adams had a great communication with the crowd, that was singing all the lyrics of all the songs, waving flags, making the festival arena looking like the United Nations, heheh…
A couple of highlights concerning the 2nd day of the festival…Mister Scott was not able to be present at the festival due to family reasons and Rhino was the one that had to perform live 6 albums of Manowar with hardly any rehearsals. Also, Whitesnake and Def Leppard, apparently "dissatisfied" for something, cancelled their appearances. Quite weird considering that them 2 were 2 of the BIG names of the festival. Manowar announced this from the speakers quite early in the day so people could actually go and get their money back if they wanted to. Only 30 persons did that and that had as a result a Joey De Maio screaming for quite sometime "Fuck you!" and encouraging thousands of people as well to scream the "F" word, when it comes to Def Leppard and Whitesnake. It was definitely fun but at the same time, it is always a bit tiring listening to De Maio making speeches. No offence but it is the truth. Sometime it is better just to stay low profile on something instead of screaming about it for 15 minutes.
But…no complaints. Manowar on their first performing day gave the people an amazing live set that made the old people remembering and feeling nostalgia and the young people to learn on what Manowar was once.
Again here, no offence but I cannot personally compare the new Manowar material and its feeling with the waltz part of "Hatred" from Into Glory Ride and the feeling that this song or this album creates.
The crowd and Manowar would have a 2nd meeting on the festival day 3, that Manowar was supposed to perform the albums Sign Of The Hammer, Fighting the World and Kings of Metal
The day ended with some more drinking at the camping area and with a German fellowship trying to teach us German swearing…interesting!
Festival day number 3. On that day, due to the fact that we had given QUITE a lot of energy on the previous night, we decided that we should take things a bit more easy going. So…during the day time there was plenty of beer drinking, discussions about this and that, philosophy when it comes to music with people from all around the world that were coming to our camp just for a friendly talk and of course plenty of music. Also some nice walk for merchandise goodies and for some grilled chicken made my day. Before the Manowar concert we ended up in an oriental kiosk smoking NON illegal stuff and just relaxing. Manowar at that time were having a signing session, something that makes me to salute them since they definitely showed that they are devoted to their fans since they spent more than 6 hours in total during these two days, signing things for the fans and taking pictures. When it comes to the music part first I experienced Holy Hell…why..? I do not even know..but I did. In my opinion female fronted metal bands with power metal elements, is out of the question. Secondly, I really do not understand why a band that is playing at a big festival and wants to be recalled as a big name in the festival, plays 2-3 cover songs..!? Anyway…we procceed..Manowar were once again impressive. Even if I don't like the Fighting the World album that much, they managed to impress me with their stage behaviour. Suddenly they made an MTV album to sound more powerful than ever…and no one should say "what the fuck is he talking about, MTV albums?" Because let us not all forget that the first even video played by MTV from Manowar was the "Blow your speakers", which I personally consider as quite cheesy!
The last day had quite a lot of blumbing here and there….motorcycles that had to be given to lucky winners…a guy that was an old fan of Manowar that wanted to get married on stage and having De Maio presenting him topless female dancers rubbing their boobs in his face, in order to change his mind from getting married, while Manowar was performing "Pleasure Slave"….did I enjoy all that…? No actually…if I was 15 years old..maybe..but not now that I am turning 30. I prefer to stick to the music instead of watching things of no importance. Anyway…
Manowar's performance concerning the albums Sign of The Hammer and Kings of Metal was absolutely amazing!
They brought in mind again all the glorious past this band has, they made thousands of people feeling proud for being there and they gave a special note to the album Kings of Metal by including from what i have heard, the Bar Arolsen choir standing at the back of the stage. Quite a powerful emotion listening to the song "The Crown and the Ring" with an actual choir backing it up!
Negative element on the last day…? Once again the REALLY long speech from Joey De Maio, that had to thank, the princess of Bad Arolsen, the mayor, him, her, that…..etc…
All in all…was it worth it and does it justify being there for the 2009 edition? From what I experienced during the 2008 edition, definitely it does! The vibe of the festival is good, the arrangement quite professional, Manowar has promised to play the new album live for the first time…what more do you need? Oh yes….beer there is quite cheep too!
One thing that I have to mention is that on the last day of the festival, Manowar spread 20.000 CD singles of the new song Die with Honor. It was a rather cool gesture from the band if someone considers on how expensive it is for them to do something like that without having any profit from it at all. ALSO the band spread during the 2 days that they played, at something that people like to call "Happy hour", i do not remember how may litres exactly, but it WAS quite a lot of hundreds litres of free beer. The DVD from this festival is supposed to be released around November…keep an eye for it as you will probably see quite a lot of familiar faces from Oslo, Hokksund and other areas of Norway!
Hail & Kill!